Every year companies make the cutest calendars and planners and there’s always a new app to aid in organizing and time managing your life. And invariably, we fall prey and purchase the new shiny thing that promises to keep us on track and on time and help us do things like remember the milk (there’s actually an app called Remember the Milk www.rememberthemilk.com). After a few weeks or months, our resolve falls by the wayside and we stop writing down appointments or jotting down notes and the whole system falls apart.
So how do you use a planner, calendar, and/or digital app for your greatest benefit? Don’t try to go against the grain. If you’re a paper person use a paper option. If you do well in the cloud and are managing a few people’s schedules, use a digital option. With the push to go digital there are so many apps that can keep families connected. Digital family organizing apps can share calendars and invite people to events they need to attend, such as doctor visits and school meetings. You can share lists and messages with the click of a button. By sharing information in real-time, everyone stays up-to-date and on the same (digital) page.
You may want to use separate systems for work vs. personal to reduce information overload. Also, many workplaces use an intranet calendar and planning system (such as PERT or Gantt charts) that you can’t take home with you. Of course mark big events like business travel or any major deadlines on your personal system so you can schedule yourself around late nights and important events.
• Decide on the Best Planner for You: the choice shouldn’t involve a paradigm shift in thinking; use whatever you feel most comfortable with. If your children come home with a school planner, have them use that as important school days are already marked for you and teachers refer back to those planners in class. If you find that the planner you chose doesn’t fit with your life, choose another one. It may take some finessing to find what works for you, especially if you’re used to storing all your information in your head.
• Pick an Option and Stick with it: like the old saying goes “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”. You may have the best, most comprehensive option available but if you don’t put your appointments or lists down, the option is useless. Get into the habit of reviewing tomorrow’s schedule the night before and immediately writing down appointments or reminders as they come up.
• Get the Family on Board: If your calendar option is a huge whiteboard in the kitchen, make sure everyone writes down their activities and schedule on the calendar and checks back frequently to stay appraised of the household schedule. It only takes a few missed appointments or double-scheduled events to realize how crucial a synchronized schedule is to a family.